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The Akko (Acre) Pogrom

By Michael Freund
10/10/2008, 12:00 AM


This isn't medieval Europe - must Jews hide in their homes on the holiest day of the year for fear of the mob outside?
Jewish residents of Akko (Acre) in northern Israel spent Yom Kippur eve in an unusual fashion: they were the targets of a pogrom by their Arab neighbors.

According to the police, an Israeli Arab drove into a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur night with his windows down and music blaring in a blatant act of disrespect for the holiest day of the year. As Galilee police spokesman Eran Shaked put it, "This was a provocation... We believe he was intoxicated. This was a deliberate act".

When local Jewish residents complained to the Arab driver, a confrontation ensued. Then, according to police, false rumors spread that the Arab driver had been injured or killed, leading hundreds of Arabs to descend on the Jewish neighborhood, where they smashed store windows and cars and chanted "Death to the Jews" and "If you come out of your homes you will die".

It is simply mind-boggling that such an event can be allowed to occur in the Jewish state. This isn't medieval Europe - must Jews hide in their homes on the holiest day of the year for fear of the mob outside? Where are the police? Where is the government?

The media, of course, is trying to spin the incident as "Arab-Jewish rioting" - but it is clear who provoked this incident and why.

The pogrom in Akko can not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. This is a disgraceful turn of events, and it is essential that the police bring the Arab rioters to justice forthwith and send a strong and clear signal that such hooliganism will not be tolerated.